from Stylist (UK) / by Lisa Merrick
Sixty Second Therapist – Stylist‘s life coach Lisa Merrick lawless srutinieses one celebrity psyche
The Upstairs Downstairs actress, 27, on making a fool of herself, feeling lucky, and why she’ll never be a celebrity.
Did you always want to be an actress?
Secretly, deep down, I think I did, but I didn’t really think it was something I could do as a job that people would pay me for. It was a massive surprise when I realised I could and was actually doing it. Even now I’m waiting for someone to say, “We don’t want you anymore. No-one wants to see you.” I’m waiting to be found out.
Do you mean you feel like a bit of a charlatan?
I think so. Luckily, most of the parts I’ve got I’ve had to work really hard for, so when I’ve got them I’ve felt this huge relief, like, “Thank god, they can’t possibly get rid of me now.” Acting is an inherently unstable profession and you’re constantly aware that work can dry up.
That sounds so stressful. Do you still get nervous at auditions?
I’ve done hundreds and you have to be relatively calm and confident. You can’t go in as a gibbering wreck or everyone will feel uncomfortable. I’ve had the sort of thing when I don’t feel nervous at all, but then my hands are shaking and I can’t stop the script from moving. I want to say, “Don’t worry, I’m absolutely fine. I have no idea why this is happening,” but the casting people would think I was a lunatic.
You’ve said that being an actor doesn’t make you a celebrity…
I think that’s right. There are actors who are massively famous, but I don’t think I will ever reach that type of fame and I wouldn’t want to. The stories you hear about people not being able to live their lives are awful. I quite like my life and wouldn’t want it to change.
When are you happiest?
Sitting down in a comfy place with a cup of tea wearing jogging bottoms surrounded by lots of lovely people.
What’s been your most embarrassing moment?
I once fell over in front of a whole cinema full of people while walking to the front of the screen to go to the toilet. That wasn’t even that bad, but my response was. I stood up and shouted, “I’m alright!” No-one was amused. I generally embarrass myself hugely all the time.
You’re starring in the new BBC drama White Heat. Will you watch it when it’s broadcast?
I loved making it so much that I’m really excited to see it. I play a lovely normal girl called Charlotte. The series follows her from 18 to 42 and yes, I still play her at 42 with lots of make-up and prosthetics. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a joy to see myself like that. I kept saying, “You’ll be fine, don’t worry, you’ll take better care of yourself. You’ll have facials. Charlotte would never have facials.”
Do you watch everything you’re in?
The weird thing is when I watch myself in a programme it’s not me really. Lots of people watch themselves and say, “I wish I’d done that” or “I wish I’d said that” and I’m not like that. I’ll watch whatever it is at a screening, and then when it’s on telly, and that’ll be it. I don’t like torturing myself over it.
White Heat is on BBC2 in March